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Where council candidates stand on the Rays | News

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Where council candidates stand on the Rays
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St. Petersburg, Florida - As the Rays Stadium Saga drags on into another offseason, voters of St. Petersburg will get to decide which council candidates they want handling the situation for the next four years.

Read all of 10 News' coverage of the Rays Stadium Saga

10 News reached out to all of the candidates running in November's election to see where they stood on the topic of keeping the Rays in the area.

District 1
Charlie Gerdes - Gerdes may be a lawyer like Mayor Bill Foster, but he criticized the mayor's "hardball" handling of the issue.  

"The Mayor's office ought to realize that adopting an adversarial tone so early in the negotiations process may make the Rays more eager to leave the city," Gerdes said.  

He wants council to work with Foster and the Rays to strike a deal where a new stadium would be built in Pinellas County.  

"Ultimately, adversarial negotiations may be required, but that time is not now," Gerdes said.  "There is still room for conciliation on both sides of the table."

Bob Kersteen - A former councilmember, Kersteen said the city needs "open communication with the Rays if we are to come to a mutual understanding of everyone's wants and needs".  

However, Mayor Bill Foster maintains his door is open to the team - the Rays just haven't returned the favor.

District 3
Bill Dudley - Dudley, the incumbent, didn't respond to several requests for comment on the issue, but told the St. Petersburg Times in July that a new stadium and convention center on the Tropicana Field site would offer beach proximity that competing centers in Tampa and Orlando couldn't offer.

Brent Hatley - The radio producer tells 10 News that he wants to sit down with the Rays and negotiate a new energy-efficient stadium in a "more centralized location".  

He thinks creating the first energy-independent sports stadium would help land federal clean energy dollars to help offset stadium costs.

District 5
Steve Kornell - Kornell, the incumbent, is no longer facing any challengers and didn't return requests for comment on the issue.  And even though he shared frustrations with other council members at the lack of progress recently in the stadium debate, he has generally stayed on the sidelines on the issue, following the mayor's lead.

District 7
Gersham Faulkner - Faulker, a political consultant, said he supported the city's position on the issue, but not the adversarial role.  He says his experience working in a Congressional office and on a gubernatorial campaign would position himself well to help negotiate.  

Wengay Newton - Newton, the incumbent, says council needs to do anything in its power to make sure the Rays stay in St. Petersburg.  He says the city should help develop the corporate support the team has been missing.  

"I will do all I can to help keep our Rays here, up to and including support for a New Stadium," Newton said in an e-mail to 10 News.  "Let the people VOTE and have a buy-in."

Connect with 10 News Reporter Noah Pransky on Facebook at www.facebook.com/noahpransky or Twitter at www.twitter.com/noahpransky.  Follow his sports business blog, Shadow of the Stadium.

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